New Poll: Common Core Support Takes Another Nosedive

Yesterday, EducationNext released its annual poll tracking opinions on some of the most hot-button issues in education policy, and the results spelled bad news for the educrat establishment.

Chief among the poll’s findings was a continued decline in support for the Common Core standards, which dropped eight points from 58 percent approval in 2015 to 50 percent approval this year among all respondents. In the last three years, support for the standards has nosedived an incredible 33 points.

Furthermore, the disillusionment with Common Core has become a bipartisan trend, with both Democrats and Republicans showing increasing disfavor with the standards. In the last year, Democratic support has dipped 10 points to 48 percent while Republican support dropped 4 points to 35 percent. Most tellingly, teachers disapproved of the standards at a higher rate than the general public, with a majority (51 percent) saying they opposed Common Core versus 41 percent of all respondents.

One other notable finding from the poll was an increasing opposition to school vouchers, with support dropping by six points since 2014. Interestingly, this drop seems to be fueled by Republican respondents, whose support dipped to 45 percent in this year’s survey. While conservatives have typically been the more enthusiastic supporters of vouchers as an element of school choice policy, it is possible that more parents are coming to realize the potential dangers inherent in these programs—namely, that the government might use vouchers as a backdoor in order to further regulate private schools.

While the EdNext poll is certainly not all good news—see, for example, the increase in support for universal standards when the Common Core moniker is dropped—this year’s results indicate an encouraging trend of parents and other citizens standing up for better, and more locally accountable, education for our nation’s children. Continue Reading

Grassroots vs. Establishment Battle Evident in GOP Education Platform

Photo credit: Erik Drost via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Although present in many other areas of the Republican Party Platform, the struggle between parents/grassroots activists and corporate education reform/data overlords is no more evident than in education. That fight is between parents who are demanding their inherent right to control the educational destinies of their children and the corporate titans, politicians of both parties, and bureaucrats that have imposed Common Core, invasive testing, psychological profiling, and data mining.

Grassroots Wins

Jane Robbins has already done an excellent job noting many of the same grassroots and parental wins. I heartily agree with her list of wins for our side (a complete list of my points and quotes is available here):

  • Affirming the need to eliminate or greatly reduce the unconstitutional, expensive, and ineffective federal role in education
  • Rejecting the view of students as products or “human capital”
  • Affirming the primacy of the parental role in education
  • Protecting data and psychological privacy and rejection of social emotional profiling and mental screening
  • Opposition to national standards and test based accountability
  • Supporting local control
  • Rejection of the Title IX bathroom edict and contraceptive based sex education as dangers to privacy, safety, and health
  • Affirming academic basics like phonics and other important foundations like history from original documents and the Bible as literature

One other significant piece the RNC should be commended for adding in the overall section on families is the plank acknowledging the incredibly important role of two-parent families that is foundational to education and to preventing so many social ills that plague our nation. Continue Reading

New GOP Platform: The Good, the Bad, and the Very Concerning

Photo credit: Erik Drost via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Republican Platform was released on Monday, the first day of the convention. Much of the K-12 education plank is good; parts are concerning. Here are a few initial impressions.

The platform begins with a strong statement of the purpose of education — that true education goes beyond transmission of “knowledge and skills” and encompasses “handing over of a cultural identity.” The platform observes, correctly, that “centralizing forces outside the family and community . . . have done immense damage,” and it states flatly that the strongest centralizing force — the federal government — “should not be a partner in [the educational] effort, as the Constitution gives it no role in education.”

Citing the celebration of human dignity in the Declaration of Independence, the platform states: “That truth [of the Declaration] rejects the dark view of the individual as human capital – a possession for the creation of another’s wealth.” In so doing, the platform dismisses the foundational principle of Common Core and other education-as-workforce-development schemes. This statement is a welcome indication that at least some of the people who worked on this language actually understand — and reject — the Chamber of Commerce view of education.

Turning to parental rights, the platform also acknowledges that parents “have a right to direct their children’s education, care, and upbringing” and even supports a constitutional amendment to protect that right from “interference by states, the federal government, or international bodies such as the United Nations.” It strongly endorses local control in education, opposes all national standards (specifically Common Core) and assessments and, while it endorses tests that “serve as a tool so teachers can tailor teaching to meet student needs,” rejects “excessive testing.” (There is no mention of parental rights to opt out of the testing.)

The platform also recognizes that more spending isn’t the solution to our education problems, noting the singular lack of effectiveness of the $2 trillion of federal money spent on education over the last 50 years. Continue Reading

Clinton Doubles Down on Common Core, Faults “Roll-Out” for Problems

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Although the progressive education establishment (which includes Republicans such as Sen. Lamar Alexander) insists that the Common Core issue is fading and won’t affect the election, the question of the national standards — with all its ancillary issues — refuses to die.

For her part, Hillary Clinton continues to declare her fealty to the idea of uniform national standards. In an interview with Newsday, Clinton reiterated, “[W]hat I want to do, again, just like you were talking about Common Core and to set some standards, we need to have a common set of standards by which we judge all the schools, all the public schools, traditional, charter, magnet, whatever we call them.” Clinton also repeated the duplicitous talking points to the effect that Common Core was a state-led effort, that the standards are internationally benchmarked and will allow us to compare U.S. students’ performance to that of other nations’ students, etc.

Clinton’s bottom line seems to reflect the long-ago counsel of famous school-to-worknik Marc Tucker, who believed (and believes) that centralized power in the hands of education “experts” is the answer to all education and economic problems.

But perhaps in a nod to the fever-pitch opposition to Common Core in New York, Clinton did admit that the implementation of the standards left something to be desired. “I think the roll-out was disastrous. I think the way they rolled out the Common Core and the expectation you can turn on a dime… They didn’t even have, as I’m told, they didn’t even have the instructional materials ready. Continue Reading

School Choice Being Used to Undermine Academic and Religious Freedom?

Photo via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0 BR)

As Republican candidates for president promote K-12 education reforms, they should reject “school choice” programs that interfere with the academic and religious freedom of participating private schools.

Otherwise, parents who dislike what’s happening in public schools, and are given financial assistance to make a different choice, may be limited to private schools that have been forced to adopt Common Core standards or to abandon their religious mission and teachings.

That is exactly what is now threatened by pending Georgia legislation known as “Business and Education Succeeding Together,” or BEST.

A bit of history: In 2008, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue signed into law the Qualified Education Expense Credit bill. This legislation allowed the creation of student scholarship organizations (SSOs), to which Georgia individual and corporate taxpayers can contribute in exchange for a state income tax credit. The SSOs use these contributions to grant scholarships to K-12 public school students so they can attend the private schools chosen by their parents.

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Read the full article at The Augusta Chronicle. Continue Reading